STATEMENT BY RESTORATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (ROHR) ZIMBABWE ON THE ABDUCTION OF POLITICAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST ITAI DZAMARA
12th March, 2015
ROHR Zimbabwe has noted with grave concern the abduction of Political and Human Rights activist and leader of Occupy Africa Unity Square movement, Itai Dzamara purportedly by“unknown” people on Monday 9th March, 2015.
We cannot help but notice that this has all the hallmarks of the state agents and is reminiscent of numerous such abductions in the past, notably that of Jestina Mukoko on 3rd December, 2008 and Paul Chizuze on 8th February in 2012. The former went through an ordeal over a protracted period at the hands of state agents whilst the latter has not been found up to date.ROHR Zimbabwe is urging the government of Zimbabwe to respect, among other things, the rights of citizens to express themselves and to associate with any movement or persons sharing their views as is enshrined in not only the Constitution of Zimbabwe but also in the United Nations’Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,the AU’s African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, to all of which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
Rather than seeking to eliminate dissenting views, the Government of Zimbabwe should be addressing the issues that are causing the dissent and should be promoting an environment and a culture that encourages and promotes all freedoms and rights of its citizens which in turn would ultimately lead to greater participation of citizens in governance issues.
We know that it is a ‘big ask’ to ask the Government of Zimbabwe to institute a thorough investigation into the abduction of Itai Dzamara as this is tantamount to asking the Government to investigate itself.
We urge the government of Zimbabwe to cease the culture of brutal repression at par with, if not worse than, that of the Smith regime.
Until the Government of Zimbabwe heeds our call and that of many other human rights, civic and political groups, we will continue to take all necessary action to demand the release of Itai Dzamara.
By Panyika Anselm Karimanzira
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe